Art or what?
April 14, 2007 3:07 AM   Subscribe

So we just saw Bodies: The Exhibition in Amsterdam, and have a few questions...

In case you're not familiar with the show, this is the official US website, and this is the last London show.

Here is the website for the Amsterdam show (in het Nederlands).

Here are our questions:
  1. The organisers claim 20 bodies, but there are a hell of a lot "parts" in stand alone exhibits; how many total?
  2. Can these still be considered human bodies, given the processing they've been through?
  3. Finally, just where do they get the bodies from? We both noticed they appear oriental from both facial expression and stature, but have the organisers ever discussed where they source their corpses?
posted by Mutant to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not sure if this is run by the same people, but I visited Body Worlds when it came to Cleveland, OH, USA, a little while back. To answer your third question, all of the bodies were donated and there were forms at the show that you could fill out so that when you die you would be considered for plastination.
posted by bwilms at 3:34 AM on April 14, 2007


From the FAQ at the US site you linked above:

"Where do the specimens come from?

All of the bodies were obtained through the Dalian Medical University Plastination Laboratories in the People's Republic of China...Currently, human specimens in medical schools in China, the United States and other countries throughout the world are donated or unidentified bodies."
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:01 AM on April 14, 2007


See here and here for more reading.

Still, innocent until proven guilty I suppose.
posted by Kiwi at 5:54 AM on April 14, 2007


I'm not sure if this is run by the same people, but I visited Body Worlds when it came to Cleveland, OH, USA, a little while back. To answer your third question, all of the bodies were donated and there were forms at the show that you could fill out so that when you die you would be considered for plastination.

It's not run by the same people. People are pretty sure that all the recent bodies in Bodyworlds are volunteers. For this and other shows, people are much less sure.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:05 AM on April 14, 2007


Can these still be considered human bodies, given the processing they've been through?

I can't see that they would be any other type of bodies.
posted by yohko at 7:55 AM on April 14, 2007


When I saw this particular exhibit in San Francisco, which was about three years ago now, it was staffed by docents who seemed to have been recruited locally for the show. The two persons taking the money seemed to be the only ones associated with the show from venue to venue. These two had no information on the show (informational materials were supposedly on their way) and the signage was minimal at best so I asked one of the docents about the exhibits. He told me that the bodies had been obtained by the exhibitors in China, roughly half by donation and half by way of prisons. He pointed out the baseball playing corpse and told me to notice that his broken leg had never healed and was held together by some rough-looking medical device. I was also surprised to see various exhibits involving the (partial) bodies of children, who can arguably not give their consent.
posted by Morrigan at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2007


Lots about this on Washington DC tv channels this as the exhibition is opening in the area this week. A spokesman for Bodies said on there that they all came from a medical teaching facility in China and were all unclaimed bodies.

He said they got them from the teaching facility because they wanted cadavers that showed advanced signs of disease (he quoted Lung Cancer and cirosiss [sp?] of the liver). He did say that all the permissions that they could get they did, but as the bodies were long unclaimed there wasn't much else they could do.

It looks fascinating and I want to see it while it is in our area.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 3:01 PM on April 14, 2007


"From the FAQ at the US site you linked above:"

Sorry, I phrased the question badly; I read the FAQ as well, and knew about the organisers representations, however last time the show was in London there were protesters outside. The other link mentions this, and we were curious if anything more definitive either way had come to light.

"I can't see that they would be any other type of bodies."

Yeh, but apparently the process replaces the human tissue with a polymer. So on some level they're just models, representations. However there are other views, as some protesters in the US were complaining about the fetuses.
posted by Mutant at 3:54 PM on April 14, 2007


Regarding children's bodies: Parents can consent.

543DoublePlay: Cirrhosis.

I really enjoyed BodyWorlds.

Re: the fetuses, one of the exhibits in California had a fetus stolen. In Chicago, which is where I saw Bodyworlds, the embryos, fetuses, and pregnant woman were in a curtained-off area so you didn't have to see them if you didn't want to.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:51 PM on April 14, 2007


« Older Help us buy a new camera!   |   Are there any etiquette guidelines for a younger... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.